|Cleveland (32-27) «||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||3||4||10||0|
|St. Louis (31-30)||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||6||0|
ST. LOUIS -- Chris Perez insisted it was no big deal that his 20th consecutive save came against his old team. The body language begged to differ.
The Cleveland Indians closer finished off a 4-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday while battling an upset stomach that left him spitting up fluid between pitches. After getting Adron Chambers on a pop-up with a man on first for the final out, Perez went down to one knee.
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"I drank some warm water and I ran out there and it just didn't settle well," Perez said. "What am I going to do, call timeout and run into the dugout?
"If you remember, a couple years ago in spring training it was the same situation. So I need to stay away from warm water."
Cleveland's Jason Kipnis hit a tiebreaking three-run homer off closer Jason Motte in the ninth after the Cardinals left the bases loaded in the eighth. Vinnie Pestano (3-0) walked three straight batters with one out in the eighth but recovered to strike out No. 3 hitter Yadier Molina and cleanup man Allen Craig.
"That's the game right there," Kipnis said. "I thought both starting pitchers did a great job and it just came down to who can execute late."
Carlos Beltran homered for the second straight day to increase his National League-leading total to 18, and Joe Kelly allowed one run in five-plus innings in his major league debut for the Cardinals. St. Louis is the only major league team that has not won a series over the Indians, who are 14-6 overall and 8-4 on the road against the Cardinals.
"It's a little bit of everything right now," Beltran said. "We've been battling injuries and things like that, but at the same time we just need to find a way to play better. There's no excuses."
The Cardinals have lost eight of 12 and totaled just five runs in the series. They went the last two without cleanup hitter Matt Holliday, who could return from mid-back spasms on Tuesday after the team's off day Monday.
"Guys are grinding. They're fighting, and I'm going to continue to stay optimistic because that's what I believe," manager Mike Matheny said. "It's not a facade -- it's only a matter of time before we take off.
"When we take off, it's going to be a good run."
The Indians had scored just one run in 19 innings before the ninth, when pinch hitter Johnny Damon hit a leadoff single and Asdrubal Cabrera walked with one out. Kipnis hit his 10th homer on a 2-2 fastball from Motte (3-3).
On Saturday, Motte got Kipnis to fly out to right on a pitch that he thought had a slightly better location.
"It's just one of those things," Motte said. "He got the barrel on it. It happens."
The Indians won despite going 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position and 2 for 18 with men on base. Perez, who once competed with Motte for the St. Louis closer spot, has been flawless since blowing a save on opening day.
"I enjoyed pitching out there today, beating my former team, but at the end of the day I was just trying to get the save," Perez said. "If I go out there too amped up and trying to do too much, I wouldn't have had a good outing."
Jimenez had his first walk-free game of the season, after coming in with 43 walks in 62 2/3 innings. The right-hander has walked just one in his last two starts covering 13 2-3 innings and faced only three three-ball counts against the Cardinals. The first came in the first inning against Beltran, who belted a 3-1 pitch an estimated 428 feet to right-center.
Jimenez then retired 13 in a row, including five strikeouts in a span of eight at-bats.
Kelly, who replaced the injured Jaime Garcia in the rotation, left to a standing ovation after Brantley singled to start the sixth and kept his hit streak alive.
"It felt like another start," said Kelly, who began last season at the Class A level. "I didn't think I was going to sleep last night and I got great sleep.
"I was relaxed. It was good to go."
Brantley is batting .357 (25 for 70) during his hit streak, the longest current run in the majors and two shy of the season's longest by Adam Jones of Baltimore that ended May 30. Brantley can match his career best, set in 2010, at Cincinnati on Tuesday.
|Jason Kipnis follows through on his three-run shot in the top of the ninth to help the Indians drop the Cardinals. (Getty Images)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Shin-Soo Choo, RF||5||1||2||0||0||1||1||.272|
|Asdrubal Cabrera, SS||4||1||1||0||1||0||2||.296|
|Jason Kipnis, 2B||4||1||3||3||1||0||1||.285|
|Carlos Santana, 1B-C||3||0||0||1||1||2||3||.225|
|Michael Brantley, CF||5||0||1||0||0||1||5||.286|
|Jose Lopez, 3B-1B^3B||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||.263|
|Shelley Duncan, LF||4||0||2||0||0||1||1||.208|
|Aaron Cunningham, LF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.200|
|Lou Marson, C||2||0||0||0||1||1||2||.208|
|a- Lonnie Chisenhall, PH-3B||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.206|
|Casey Kotchman, 1B||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.219|
|Ubaldo Jimenez, P||3||0||0||0||0||3||4||.000|
|Vinnie Pestano, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Johnny Damon, PH||1||1||1||0||0||0||0||.190|
|Chris Perez, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-grounded out for Marson in the 8th|
|b-singled for Pestano in the 9th|
|2B - Shin-Soo Choo (16, Kelly), Jason Kipnis (6, Kelly)|
|HR - Jason Kipnis (10, Motte)|
|SF - Carlos Santana (5)|
|RBI - Jason Kipnis 3 (39), Carlos Santana (27)|
|SB - Jason Kipnis (15, 2nd base off Rzepczynski/Molina)|
|Team LOB - 10|
|DP - Kipnis-A. Cabrera-Santana|
|Vinnie Pestano (W,3-0)||1||0||0||0||3||2||0||2.19|
|Chris Perez (S,20)||1||1||0||0||0||1||0||2.59|
|WP - Ubaldo Jimenez (8)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Ubaldo Jimenez 102-67, Vinnie Pestano 32-17, Chris Perez 15-11|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ubaldo Jimenez 5-8, Vinnie Pestano 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Ubaldo Jimenez 25, Vinnie Pestano 6, Chris Perez 4|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|Rafael Furcal, SS||3||0||0||0||1||0||1||.304|
|Carlos Beltran, RF||3||1||2||1||1||0||0||.290|
|Yadier Molina, C||4||0||0||0||0||2||4||.330|
|Allen Craig, LF||4||0||0||0||0||2||3||.345|
|Jason Motte, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Matt Adams, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||1||0||.254|
|David Freese, 3B||4||0||2||0||0||1||0||.266|
|Daniel Descalso, 2B||4||0||1||0||0||2||2||.230|
|Adron Chambers, CF||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.214|
|Joe Kelly, P||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.000|
|Victor Marte, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Shane Robinson, PH||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.284|
|Marc Rzepczynski, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Mitchell Boggs, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Tyler Greene, PH-LF||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||.208|
|a-singled for Marte in the 6th|
|b-walked for Boggs in the 8th|
|HR - Carlos Beltran (18, Jimenez)|
|RBI - Carlos Beltran (46)|
|SB - Tyler Greene (7, 2nd base off Pestano/Santana)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|Jason Motte (L,3-3)||1||2||3||3||1||2||1||3.71|
|WP - Joe Kelly (1)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Joe Kelly 79-51, Victor Marte 18-9, Marc Rzepczynski 20-10, Mitchell Boggs 9-7, Jason Motte 29-16|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Kelly 4-7, Marc Rzepczynski 1-1, Mitchell Boggs 2-1, Jason Motte 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Joe Kelly 23, Victor Marte 4, Marc Rzepczynski 5, Mitchell Boggs 3, Jason Motte 6|
|Attendance - 43400|
|Game Time - 3:06|
|Temperature - 87|
|Umpires - Home - Wally Bell, First Base - Brian Knight, Second Base - Mike Winters, Third Base - Mark Wegner|